De Belin drops legal action against NRL

ST GEORGE Illawarra star Jack de Belin has dropped his legal action against the NRL's no-fault stand-down policy.

De Belin's representatives were back in the federal court for a two-day hearing on Thursday morning but it didn't last long.

The representative lock was appealing the validity of the NRL's no-fault stand-down policy, which has led to de Belin being sidelined for the entire season as he awaits a criminal court hearing.

De Belin was the first player to be stood down by the NRL's new policy in March after being charged with sexual assault. He has been committed to stand trial over the alleged rape of a woman inside a Wollongong apartment block last December.

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St. George Illawarra Dragons player Jack de Belin. Picture: AAP
St. George Illawarra Dragons player Jack de Belin. Picture: AAP

Justice Melissa Perry ruled in favour of the ARL Commission and their stand-down rule in May. His legal stoush has financially crippled de Belin.

He was ordered to pay the NRL's legal costs after the first case which was understood to be about $300,000 while his own legal fees are in excess of $100,000.

That number has jumped since engaging new lawyers for his appeal while de Belin also has mounting legal costs for his criminal case.

He still stands to earn his $595,000 contract next season in the final year of his contract after being paid $545000 this season.

However, it's understood he will save about $50,000 with the NRL set to pay their own legal fees over de Belin's abandoned appeal.

Jack de Belin has been training with the Dragons. Picture: Brett Costello
Jack de Belin has been training with the Dragons. Picture: Brett Costello

The NRL released a statement shortly after de Belin's decision, welcomed the Dragons star withdrawing his appeal.

"We have always held the view that the no-fault stand down rule is in the best interests of the game and are pleased that the legal challenge to this rule has now been concluded," the statement read.

"The NRL's no-fault stand down rule introduced in March 2019 and confirmed by the Federal Court in May continues to apply.

"The Commission and the NRL take very seriously our responsibility to protect the reputation of the Game and its stakeholders."

 

Jack de Belin’s friend Callan Sinclair will also face charges from the same alleged incident. Picture: AAP
Jack de Belin’s friend Callan Sinclair will also face charges from the same alleged incident. Picture: AAP

 

De Belin will stand trial on sexual assault charges on March 2 just a fortnight before the start of the 2020 season. The trial is expected to last two weeks meaning de Belin - if found not guilty - will be free to play for the Dragons as early as round one.

The 28-year-old has pleaded not guilty to five charges of aggravated sexual assault in company after allegedly attacking a 19-year-old woman at a Wollongong unit in December.

His friend Callan Sinclair, faces identical charges and has also pleaded not guilty. One of the charges of aggravated sexual assault in company causing actual bodily harm carries a potential life sentence.

De Belin has continued to train with the Dragons.

News Corp Australia


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